Nursing Salaries Rising: How to Negotiate for What you Deserve

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Health care institutions are in need of talented, knowledgeable nurses to assist doctors and deliver quality treatment to each patient. Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners, a position that typically requires a graduate degree, earn a median annual wage of $91,099, according to Payscale. This number is gradually rising and can change depending on your experience and specialty. As nursing salaries continue to increase, it is important to understand how to best negotiate what you deserve as a nurse practitioner.

Nurse completing paperwork

Nurse Training Trails Population Demand

As people age and new individuals are born into the world, nurses will be essential to providing care and maintaining overall health. Although nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S., the demand is outpacing the supply. By 2022, there will be 1.2 million vacancies for registered nurses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This shortage is largely going to be driven by aging generations of baby boomers, as 61 million U.S. citizens will be aged 66 to 84 by 2030, according to a study published by Health Services Research. This population of older adults is likely to have chronic conditions that require regular treatment and care from medical professionals.
For registered nurses, this growing demand can serve as an opportunity to negotiate the salary they deserve. Facilities are looking to hire or promote nurses to make up for experience gaps with retiring RNs. With the right training and practical experience, you can prove yourself as a capable RN and discuss a salary according to your skills. Cite the growing need for experienced nurses along with your own experience to create a solid foundation for your negotiations.

Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Money

For some employees, asking for a raise can be an intimidating task. Many workers think that employers will harbor resentment or be offended by a pay negotiation. However, 73 percent of employers stated that they aren’t offended by negotiation requests, and none of them have ever demoted or fired an existing employee for asking for a raise, according to a survey. In addition, 84 percent expect applicants to negotiate salaries during interviews, and 87 percent have never withdrawn a job offer following negotiations. All this is to say that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for what you’re worth or approach your supervisor and talk about a salary increase. The best outcomes would be that your employer agrees to the case you made for yourself; at worst, they could say no but they may still work with you.

How to Make Your Case

Empowered by industry demand and inner confidence, it’s time to make your case and negotiate a salary that befits your experience and skills. There are a few major things that RNs can do to effectively discuss their pay:

Determine Your Value

The median annual wage for your position is a great starting point. You can easily compare your skills and credentials to other jobs to discover what other individuals are earning. You can use a salary calculator to filter results by profession, specialty and state to assess the average pay in your area for a similar position. This will help give you a realistic starting point for negotiations.

Specialties can also significantly impact how much you should be paid. The highly skilled professions are showing increasing demand, and many institutions are willing to invest more in capable candidates. For instance, a General Nurse Practitioner can earn up to $97,990, while a Certified Nurse Midwife makes an average of $102,390 per year, according to RNs should look at what others are making in their position and use it as a base for salary discussions.

Think Beyond Base Salary

If you’re offered less pay than you expected, you should consider negotiating in other areas. You might be able to strike a deal for a signing bonus, favorable work schedule, vacation time and other benefits. It will be important to consider what you need and what you want when approaching these types of contracts. Things that you need should be offered first as major points, while wants don’t have as high of a priority. These conversations should be positive and polite. Avoid ultimatums; instead, approach them as a team member and make your case.

Come Prepared

When approaching salary negotiations, it’s essential to come prepared with examples of why you believe you should get paid a certain amount. It will be important to prove your value by presenting highlights of excellent patient care and showing how you overcame challenges. RNs can also cite positive reviews from their supervisor and patients and keep a file of recognitions you’ve received. Use credentials like an MSN degree and certifications to demonstrate your knowledge and ability to continue learning to justify salary expectations.

Receive Written Offers

Once a deal is reached, it will be important to get it in writing. It may take some time to establish your salary and benefits, so having a written contract minimizes the chance of miscommunication. You might also write out your own requirements to provide clear guidelines. It will be important to specify what you’re asking for and why. Being flexible in your negotiations and what you’re willing to accept can help improve your outlook and make the effort successful.

Getting the Salary You Deserve

Now’s the time for RNs and aspiring nursing practitioners to negotiate a salary raise. The demand for these talented individuals is steadily rising, but the available supply isn’t able to keep up. As nurses assume more responsibilities and deliver better quality patient care, it will be essential to ask for what you deserve. Overcome your fear of discussing money with a supervisor or a potential employer, as these individuals expect employees to negotiate for better salaries within their career.

Make an appointment to talk about a raise with your boss. Research what others in your position with similar credentials are making and cite these numbers as your base. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for better benefits as well if your offer is less than expected. It will be essential to justify the pay by demonstrating your experience, skills and recognition received on the job. In the end, any offer should be provided in writing to ensure full communication and mitigate errors.

RNs and aspiring nurse practitioners should look to pursue an MSN to open career opportunities and improve salary rates. According to Nurse Journal, RNs with an MSN can make an average of $86,000. By taking classes through reputable online MSN programs like those at Duquesne University, RNs can improve their skills on their own schedule while holding a job. This ongoing education and development will make a great case for salary negotiations and help you earn the money that you deserve.

About Duquesne’s Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program

The Duquesne University School of Nursing is top ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The MSN program offers three areas of specialization: Forensic Nursing, Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner, and Nursing Education and Faculty Role. For more information, visit DU’s MSN program website.